April 24, 2012

Keeping Your Baby's Teeth Healthy

baby teeth
Brushing is the most important thing for your baby's dental care, but those precious teeth need more than just regular cleanings to stay healthy. Below are a number of ways to keep your child's teeth in top shape for life.

Minerals and vitamins: Your baby needs the right building blocks to construct her pearly whites, and that means an adequate intake of calcium, phosphorus, fluoride, and other minerals and vitamins (particularly Vitamin C, which is a great to keep gums healthy).

Give cheese: Can't brush baby's teeth after she's had a high-carb or sugary snack? Slip her a slice of cheese. In addition to their high calcium content, cheeses, like Swiss and cheddar, encourage saliva production, which helps clear cavity-causing acids and sugars from the mouth.

 It may seem impossible to completely avoid sugars in your baby's diet, but you'll want to limit them as much as possible — particularly refined sugars (which are found in, of all things, commercial teething biscuits) and sticky natural sugars (such as those in dried fruits). Keep sweets to an asbolute minimum — no more than once or twice a day — and serve only with meals.

Use cups: Your baby may still love her bottle, but you'll want to get her used to drinking from a cup. Bottles and sippy cups containing milk or juice have been associated with tooth decay because they allow the liquid to pool in baby's mouth and on the teeth. If you’re afraid your baby will make too much of a mess drinking from a cup, use a sippy with a straw or just put water or very diluted juice in the sippy.

Reduce the juice: To cut back on sugar, only offer juice in a watered-down form and only with snacks and meals, not as an all-purpose tummy filler.

No nighttime bottles: Although your baby may love the comfort her bottle provides, don't let her go to sleep with one. She may (and probably will) leave the nipple in her mouth, and the drips and drops of fluid that dribble out can be broken down into acid, which erode those newly erupted teeth. Even if your child is still without any baby teeth, ban the bottle for sleeping, because it will only be that much harder to take away later.

For information about other dental topics visit DrTav.com

April 17, 2012

Brushing Your Baby's Teeth

It is as important to care for your baby's first teeth as it is to care for his permanent teeth when he's older. Yes - his baby teeth will fall out, but in the meantime they serve some important functions.

Baby teeth are responsible for "reserving" spaces for the permanent teeth to grow into. When baby teeth are lost, it can cause the permanent teeth to shift - and this can cause orthodontic problems as your child grows. Your baby needs his baby teeth in order to learn to speak correctly and clearly. Your baby's milk teeth are necessary for biting and chewing. If your child loses too many baby teeth, it can affect his confidence once he reaches pre-school. Sadly, children can be very unkind when it comes to pointing out differences in others.

As soon as baby's first tooth erupts, it's time to buy a good toothbrush. The best type to use at first is a long handled brush with a small head. This design makes it easy to reach all areas of your baby's mouth.

Your baby's toothbrush should have rounded, soft filaments. You should replace it every 10-12 weeks, or sooner if the filaments become splayed.

Another option is to use a specially designed infant toothbrush that fits over your finger. Some babies seem to prefer this type... but beware! If your baby is a biter, a toothbrush of this type offers your vulnerable finger very little protection!

As your baby grows and wants to hold the brush himself, then it's a good idea to buy him one with a chunky handle. This will be easier for him to hold - but, of course, you will still need to do the majority of the brushing yourself!

It isn't absolutely essential to use toothpaste to clean your baby's teeth - the brushing action itself is actually the most important part of keeping them clean. If you prefer to use toothpaste, then you should choose one that is designed specifically for infants, because they contain very little - if any - fluoride. In fact, the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry guidelines suggest that babies under the age of 2 receive NO fluoride at all.

Fluoride helps strengthen the enamel of teeth. However, too much of it can cause fluorosis, which is a condition where white spots can appear on the permanent teeth. If you use an adult toothpaste to brush your baby's teeth, which contains the amount of fluoride recommended for adults, you run the risk of him developing fluorosis. This is because babies tend to swallow rather a lot of toothpaste during brushing and are thereby swallowing excess fluoride.

If your baby won't open his mouth when it's time to brush his teeth, then try putting a brush in your mouth. Your baby loves to mimic you. You can also make your baby laugh

Sit your baby in the most comfortable position for both of you - try standing or sitting behind  your baby as he looks up. This is an excellent position to adopt, because it makes it very easy to reach all parts of his mouth. Be gentle - it isn't necessary to brush firmly at this stage and it may just put your baby off having his teeth brushed altogether!

For information about other dental topics visit DrTav.com

April 10, 2012

Baby Teeth Care: Teething Tips and Tooth Care

It breaks your heart to see your child uncomfortable with teething pain and you want to know what you can do. The best remedies are cold and pressure. Cold slightly numbs the area, and pressure provides a counter sensation that feels good. Wet a washcloth, stick it in the freezer for 30 to 60 minutes, and let your child chew on it. You can also chill some teething rings. 

Many parents have been told by their mothers or grandmothers to rub whiskey on their baby’s gums to help with teething pain, but it really isn’t advisable. Another popular remedy is homeopathic teething tablets.  However, the active ingredient, an herb called belladonna, in large doses can cause hallucinations, difficulty breathing, increased heart rate and other problems. So be careful. Cold and pressure are the best and safest remedies for baby teething care.

When a tooth is getting ready to erupt it stretches the gum area as tight as a drum. To some children, that tightness is interpreted by their brain as being painful.  For others, it’s just like an itch they have to scratch.  Different children just have a different perception of what is and what isn’t pain. 

Many parents wonder if it is okay to give acetaminophen or ibuprofen to stop pain. Ibuprofen should only be used for babies older than 6 months. After that, either medication is fine when given in the correct dose and administered judiciously. But parents should first ask themselves if their child really needs the drug.  Ibuprofen isn’t necessarily more effective because it’s known to relieve inflammation as well as pain. What’s happening with your child’s mouth is primarily irritation. We recommend being as conservative in your approach to pain management as possible.

For information about other dental topics visit DrTav.com

April 3, 2012

Important Facts About Baby Teeth

The tooth buds actually start forming as early as six weeks in utero. When an expectant mother eats a well-rounded diet and takes prenatal vitamins during pregnancy to help her baby’s body grow healthy and strong, she is doing the same for her baby’s future smile. 

After a baby is born his tooth buds are busy developing into teeth, which gradually emerge through the jaw and eventually to the gum’s surface.

Having teeth changes your little one’s interaction with the environment.  Suddenly, you’ve possibly got a biter on your hands- and soon after that, a chewer.

So when will the first tooth make its debut? The event could happen about 6 months, however, it varies from child to child. It’s not something to be concerned about if your child is several months older and hasn’t gotten their first tooth. How many people do you know who never got any teeth?

As that initial baby tooth gets close to coming in, the gum above it might become swollen and start to tighten and get whitish. Perhaps a day or even weeks later, the first tooth will appear. Its roots will keep growing for another entire year, and 19 more teeth will complete the same process at their own pace until your child has a mouthful of them.

You’ll probably first see a front bottom tooth (central incisor). The symmetry of primary teeth is what’s most important – they should come in in pairs, one after the other. Just keep a lookout for its mate on the opposite side of the mouth. It should show up within a few months.

The four front top and bottom teeth are generally followed by the first molars at about 12 months, leaving gaps in the middle of the gum lines. These will eventually be filled by the pointy canine teeth.  Finally, you’ll see the second molars (called the 2-year molars) in the back. Usually all the baby teeth are in by 3 years of age.

For information about other dental topics visit DrTav.com